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Latest call rates (Read 4,335 times)
SilentCallsVictim
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Latest call rates
Dec 3rd, 2011 at 6:44pm
 
I have just updated my published list of relative call costs for calling geo (01/2/03) vs. 0845 / 0844 (g11) and 0844 (g6) numbers - http://tiny.cc/084costs.

The key points for campaigners to note are that the widespread use of inclusive packages must be stressed - Unlimited Anytime is BT's most widely-used call plan - and the emphasis on the relative cost of calling 0845 numbers from a mobile cannot be as strong as it once was.

It should be noted that the latter point may only be true for the time being, the situation with 0845 rates could easily change again.
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kasg
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Re: Latest call rates
Reply #1 - Dec 3rd, 2011 at 9:16pm
 
Does the BT Basic tariff really have weekday geographic calls included?
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Latest call rates
Reply #2 - Dec 3rd, 2011 at 9:57pm
 
kasg wrote on Dec 3rd, 2011 at 9:16pm:
Does the BT Basic tariff really have weekday geographic calls included?

"BT Basic" is BT's "social tariff", the replacement for the former "low user" scheme".

It includes a limited bundle of inclusive calls and is only available to those in receipt of DWP benefits. 0845 calls are not included in the bundle, so subscribers who wish to enquire about their benefits have to incur additional charges on a service designed for those of very limited means!

It is commonly confused with "BT Standard", the former tariff which applied to residential customers who were not subscribed to a call plan. "BT Standard" is no longer used by residential customers.
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bazzerfewi
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Re: Latest call rates
Reply #3 - Dec 3rd, 2011 at 11:51pm
 
That is both misleading and confuing because I was under the impression that 0845 numbers were included in all packages because  BT was not allowed to make additional charges for 0845 numbers.

I do not know the correct terminology but I am sure that SilentCallVictim will be in a position to let us know.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Latest call rates
Reply #4 - Dec 4th, 2011 at 1:49am
 
bazzerfewi wrote on Dec 3rd, 2011 at 11:51pm:
That is both misleading and confuing because I was under the impression that 0845 numbers were included in all packages because  BT was not allowed to make additional charges for 0845 numbers.

Do not let BT confuse you.

BT does indeed have to charge for calls to 0845 numbers without adding a margin. Whether or not it includes them in packages is something that it has always been free to decide for itself. Prior to January 2009 it did not include 0845 calls in any packages.

Stop here if you do not want to risk me confusing you.

Ofcom removed revenue sharing from 0870 in August 2009. Many people believed that the same was going to be done with 0845 within a year or so from then. In January 2009, BT took a risk by including both 0870 and 0845 calls in its Call Plans. Call Plan prices were increased in April 2009. BT took a hit on 0870 calls for a few months, but because the revenue share on 0845 calls is relatively small, it appears to be able to sustain the Call Plan package prices at their present competitive levels. The inclusion of 0845 and 0870 calls continues to be used as a major marketing point for the Call Plans.

It is now clear that Ofcom is not going to treat 0845 in the same way as 0870, however BT continues to keep it as inclusive - although there is a get-out clause in the "price freeze", which would allow it to respond to any changes which Ofcom may introduce to take effect in the coming 12 months.


BT Basic is cut to the bone to support its particular constituency, so there was no reason for BT to apply the inclusion of 0845 and 0870 calls to this product when it added it to the main Call Plans.

The inclusion of 0845 and 0870 calls at weekends only is bizarre, because these are exclusively used by businesses, many of which do not operate at the weekend. The most notable case being DWP. Where telephone calls are cheaper at the weekend, this is precisely because business calls are not busying up the network. This is the time when BT offers its most needy customers, who are unlikely to be out at work during the week, the facility of "free" calls to businesses!

Whilst BT Basic does have "inclusive calls", it is important to note that these are not "unlimited" as with the call plans. The deal provides a bundle of calls, which is presumably intended to be sufficient for the limited needs of those who qualify for the service. If the few important calls which a BT Basic subscriber needs to make are to their GP and to enquire about their DWP benefits, then they may find that their little bundle of inclusive calltime does not actually include the important calls that they need to make.

BT Basic provides an excellent opportunity to highlight the impropriety of the DWP (and HMRC) using 0845 numbers, and GPs using 0844 numbers.

Thanks to the brave souls who risked confusion; apologies to those who suffered it.
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jrawle
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Re: Latest call rates
Reply #5 - Dec 5th, 2011 at 1:57pm
 
Why are so many of the "Additional cost" cells just given as "-"? Many of these should read 0p, and in the case of some of the mobile operators, the additional cost of 0845 calls is negative - perhaps that should be highlighted in green.
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Dave
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Re: Latest call rates
Reply #6 - Dec 5th, 2011 at 2:04pm
 
jrawle wrote on Dec 5th, 2011 at 1:57pm:
… in the case of some of the mobile operators, the additional cost of 0845 calls is negative - perhaps that should be highlighted in green.

How is the additional cost of a call to 0845 number from a mobile less than the price of a landline or UK-Wide number call?
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Latest call rates
Reply #7 - Dec 5th, 2011 at 4:09pm
 
Dave wrote on Dec 5th, 2011 at 2:04pm:
jrawle wrote on Dec 5th, 2011 at 1:57pm:
… in the case of some of the mobile operators, the additional cost of 0845 calls is negative - perhaps that should be highlighted in green.
How is the additional cost of a call to 0845 number from a mobile less than the price of a landline or UK-Wide number call?

There are three reasons why I am content to indicate that there is no additional cost, but do not want to draw attention to the "saving".

This list is primarily in connection with the terms of the contract which applies to NHS GPs and the Directions that apply to NHS bodies. These require attention to be given to the possibility that callers may pay more than the cost of an equivalent call to a geographic number (which is effectively a "benchmark" as the cost of a "normal" call). If any number causes callers to pay more, then it may not be used. This simple and straightforward approach is easy to understand and easy to apply. I reflect it in the presentation of my table.

In the case of the landlines where calls to 084 numbers are cheaper, this is generally (except for BT and 0845) due to the fact that a call which is covered by a package is charged at a penalty rate when made outside the times when the package is in effect. I do not shrink from showing the penalty rates, however it must be noted that any "saving" is not likely to be made in many cases, given that people choose the package that best suits the times when they use the telephone. (I know that sophisticated telephone users would not take so simplistic an approach, but I am trying to focus on the general case.)

The recently introduced lower rates for 0845 calls from PAYG mobiles are an interesting phenomenon. We have no idea about how long they will last. I strongly suspect that this could be an attempt to take some heat out of the issue as Ofcom looks to shortly present its proposals for "unbundled tariffs". I do not believe that Ofcom would be swayed, as it is looking at much wider matters, and I doubt that the present position is sustainable for the long term. There is however no question that it weakens some of our arguments, but does not undermine them. I do not hide these cases, but I am not going to highlight them.


My presentation is intended to highlight the additional costs incurred in calling 084 numbers for those on commonly used tariffs. It is however comprehensive, in that it gives the rates that could be used to show the level of saving (or equality) in some cases. It also gives links to the full detail of the published tariff - certain providers (e.g. o2) are omitted simply because there is no clearly published tariff to which I could provide a link.

I have also published tables intended to show the average relative cost of calls to 0845 vs. 01/02/03 numbers. It is however very difficult to get meaningful data on the relative use of particular tariffs so as to offer any truly authoritative conclusion.

The important point about the NHS situation is that, because the NHS is universal, considerations have to be based on "the arrangement as a whole", not on some selected or averaged case. For this reason I aim to give sufficient examples to show a) that no 084 number can be used, and b) how one may pick on selected cases in an attempt to demonstrate that 084 numbers could be used (if such selection were permissible).
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Dave
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Re: Latest call rates
Reply #8 - Dec 6th, 2011 at 3:17pm
 
SilentCallsVictim wrote on Dec 5th, 2011 at 4:09pm:
The recently introduced lower rates for 0845 calls from PAYG mobiles are an interesting phenomenon. We have no idea about how long they will last. I strongly suspect that this could be an attempt to take some heat out of the issue as Ofcom looks to shortly present its proposals for "unbundled tariffs". I do not believe that Ofcom would be swayed, as it is looking at much wider matters, and I doubt that the present position is sustainable for the long term. There is however no question that it weakens some of our arguments, but does not undermine them. I do not hide these cases, but I am not going to highlight them.

I've not looked closely at such tariffs, but could they be a result of the trend for pay as you go services to offer bundled minutes?

Pay monthly mobile chargeable call rates are relatively high so as to create a mechanism to encourage subscribers to move upwards to a package that offers more bundled minutes. Perhaps pay as you go services are moving in that general direction and this is the effect.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Latest call rates
Reply #9 - Dec 6th, 2011 at 4:59pm
 
Dave wrote on Dec 6th, 2011 at 3:17pm:
Pay monthly mobile chargeable call rates are relatively high so as to create a mechanism to encourage subscribers to move upwards to a package that offers more bundled minutes. Perhaps pay as you go services are moving in that general direction and this is the effect.

I came very close to stating that calls to 01/02/03 numbers were "inclusive" with T-Mobile PAYG because a £10 monthly top-up provides 100 inclusive minutes plus whatever calls are covered by the £10. I do not however have sufficient grounds for assuming that most customers treat this £10 as a standard monthly subscription.

This does however show the same effect as seen with 0844 calls from BT landlines, because 0845 calls are not inclusive but are charged at a lower rate than non-inclusive calls to 01/02/03.

Having followed the point made in response, however, I have to say that this was not the point that I was making. The rates given for calling 0845 numbers in my cost table (which was perhaps a few months out of date) have changed as follows:

Provider    Tariff    From    To   
Orange    Pay Monthly    20.4 ppm    12.4 ppm   
Orange    PAYG    40 ppm    12 ppm   
Vodafone    Pay Monthly    21 ppm    35 ppm *   
Vodafone    PAYG    25 ppm    14 ppm   
T-Mobile    Pay Monthly    41 ppm    12 ppm   
T-Mobile    PAYG    40 ppm    12 ppm   

* It must be noted that Vodafone is currently running a special offer on Pay Monthly whereby calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers are only 12p per minute and calls to 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers are only 7p per minute. It is assumed that they will return to 35p per minute when this offer ends on 2 January 2012.

These are significant reductions.
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Dave
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Re: Latest call rates
Reply #10 - Dec 6th, 2011 at 7:03pm
 
Thanks for those figures SilentCallsVictim. I did'nt realise the reduction was so marked.

Could the presumed drop in the number of 0845 calls being made be one reason for this? These numbers are often replaced with 0844 numbers which I guess haven't dropped in price.
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re: Latest call rates
Reply #11 - Dec 6th, 2011 at 10:10pm
 
Dave wrote on Dec 6th, 2011 at 7:03pm:
Thanks for those figures SilentCallsVictim. I did'nt realise the reduction was so marked.

Could the presumed drop in the number of 0845 calls being made be one reason for this? These numbers are often replaced with 0844 numbers which I guess haven't dropped in price.

I do take some care in trying to be fair in selecting the figures to use, however I cannot claim that anything in this category (i.e. from the mobiles) is totally up to date and guaranteed to be representative, when there are various different options. I believe that I have represented the figures fairly, both previously and now.

I doubt that the potential revenue from 0845 calls is sufficiently significant to warrant a price reduction to generate more traffic. Had this been so, then we would have seen the reductions being strongly marketed. They will however never look good against zero from BT.

If do not think I am being over-cynical in suggesting that the imminent announcements from Ofcom may well be a primary reason for this move. Unbundling tariffs will (would) cause difficulties for both mobile providers and business rate and premium rate users, because they would not be able to blame each other for the high rates - each would have to declare their respective portion of the charge. It is therefore predictable that they will do all they can to influence public opinion against such a change.

Much of the public anger derives from the very common use of 0845 numbers, so any mitigation of that anger may reduce the support and justification for Ofcom taking action. It is however all 084 / 087 / 09 numbers that Ofcom is looking at, and it has clearly rejected the option of removing revenue share from 0845 because so many users claim to need it. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming months.
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